Scenario – Promoting an OER
Jan has created a series of open 3D models and ancillary resources for their genomics course. They first developed the content to reduce barriers to access resources for students but Jan is curious about the potential of their resource to benefit and reach others. While Jan knows how to share the resource, measuring the benefit is not as clear.
OER & Measurements of Success
Developing strategies and approaches to measuring the success of an OER is more than just the collection of numbers. While repositories will have different kinds of data you can collect about the use of your OER (see Table 1), deciding what you want to measure will help guide you in gathering metrics to provide proof of the success of your project.
|Repository||Data Collected by Object||Example|
|UBC cIRcle||Views and downloads by country; Views and downloads by month and year; Total views and downloads||Teaching in a Digital Age|
|OER Commons||Number of times viewed; Number of times saved; Ratings out of 5 stars, Comments; If you have a paid OER Commons Hub, there are additional metrics available.||Principles of Management Version 1.1|
|Merlot||User ratings; Comments; Merlot Awards Systems; If you use the Content builder you can add Google Analytics for additional metrics.||Online Poetry Classroom|
By starting with an understanding of what you want to know about your OER’s “performance,” you will be able to develop a plan to gather the right metrics for your needs. When considering the success measure for your OER, think through the following questions:
- What constitutes success for your OER and how will it be measured? Pedagogical innovation? Surveys? Interviews?
- Who do you need to report to about your OER? Funders or your institution?
- What data is needed to indicate “success”? Adoption numbers? Number of students impacted?
- How do you need to use the data for your own portfolio? Tenure and promotion, merit?
To learn more about how individual faculty members and those who support them (e.g., librarians, instructional designers, etc.) can research the effect of their adoption of open educational resources, read the Guidebook to Research on Open Educational Resources Adoption.
Developing a Promotion Plan
A promotional plan is a strategy you develop for marketing your OER to a broader public. Unlike traditional publishing models where marketing and promotion are completed for you, engaging in open education activities requires some effort from practitioners in getting the word out about their resources. There are two ways to engage in developing your promotional plan.
Strategy 1 – Personal Connections
You may already have existing resources, personal channels, and networks that can support the promotion of your work. Consider the following:
- Use communications support at your institution
- If an OER community exists at your institution, discuss possible promotional opportunities through their channels
- Use your personal channels:
- blog posts
- social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
- listservs (in your discipline and across communities)
- email signatures
Strategy 2 – External Networks
Search existing OER repositories, catalogues, and spaces for communities and groups that align with the subject matter of your OER. Consider the following:
- Search for organizations and networks with areas of interest relevant to your OER
- Identify existing organizations and networks you engage within your areas of expertise
- Using “academic” social media to share your resources (e.g. identify relevant hashtags on Twitter using Hashtagify)
- Identify existing listservs (i.e. Communities of Practice) that may support OER development and use
- Search through existing subject-specific OER repositories, catalogues, and spaces for sharing possibilities
Sample OER Sharing Plan
To get a clearer understanding of what a promotional plan could look like, review the following:
Global Storybooks is a free multilingual literacy resource for children and youth worldwide. The sharing plan provides general and subject-specific OER repositories, listservs, communities, and language learning websites where the Global Storybooks project could be shared to reach educators and learners in the K-12 range.